Science fiction is successful enough to convey the message that human behavior changes under political and scientific changes. It is important to note that most of these changes are not very encouraging. Human beings lose all the considerate thoughts for their fellow beings and turn into inhuman beasts ready to harm others for their survival. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the situation described in the novels Fahrenheit 451, Night, and Things Fall Apart and the changes in human behavior brought out in them. Though the society depicted in such novels and the thoughts of its people as portrayed may be terrifying for the reader’s science fiction helps teach the dangers of mechanical, emotionless life.
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Human Behavior Related to Science Fiction Books
Science fiction is a broad genre of literature that includes books that deal with science, changing technologies, history, or an imagined utopian or dystopian society. “Its territory ranges from the present Earth we know out to the limits of the possible universes that the human imagination can project, whether in the past, present, future, or alternative time-space continuums.” (Franklin). The human behavior in science fiction books is influenced by the situations or periods in which the stories occur. Such fiction makes clear how scientific and political changes will affect general human behavior either for the better or for the worse. In this paper, human behavior in Fahrenheit 451, Night and Things Fall Apart are going to be analyzed.
The three novels are similar in that all of them convey how scientific, technological, or political tyranny results in the decay of human behavior. The people lose humanitarian qualities and emotions and become either mechanical or inhuman. While Night and Things Fall Apart are written out of the authors’ personal experiences with colonialism and war in the past, Fahrenheit 451 refers to political issues at that time and also is a warning of the dangers of over-exposure to television.
The night was published in 1960 as a result of the physical and mental hardships the author himself had to face at the time when the Jews were attacked and taken to concentration camps during the Second World War period. In the novel, he explains how due to the atrocities inflicted on him and the other Jews, he lost the humanity in him and was turned into an atheist. In Fahrenheit 451, a dystopian society is presented in which people condemn reading and so burn books with the help of ‘firemen.’
The author intends to convey the message that overdependence on television will cause people to lose interest in reading. While reading books was the main hobby in olden times, the society in the novel burns books and instead watches television, too much of which makes the human mind numb. Even the ones who wish to rebel are repressed and gradually a great majority of the public begins to believe that books convey contradictory messages and are misleading. Things Fall Apart describes the cultural and religious conflicts the African people underwent after colonialism. Most of the people abandoned their traditions and began to follow Christianity and white culture. It is clear how Africa’s own culture was wiped off by the huge wave of white culture.
It is interesting to note that novels and the themes contained in them are still relevant today. The atrocities committed by some powerful countries on other countries and continuing wars are responsible for creating more and more human beings with no humanitarian emotions but only enmity between people.
Television and the internet are the most popular media of entertainment, putting books, and interpersonal interactions and relationships to the backseats. “In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury created a response to the cultural climate of his time that still resonates with us today. The themes of censorship, individual vs. society, and mindless entertainment vs. interpersonal relationships are still visible in today’s society.” (Paliescheskey).
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The main characters serve as examples for exceptions in society who are taken aback and depressed by the changes in human behavior and ways of life. The novels prove that the consequences of such human behavior are strong enough to change the social life and cultural beliefs of the entire society itself. Moreover, it is not at all safe to live in such societies full of people with no emotions or humanitarian considerations. However, it helps to understand the dangers of such a style of living and identify the right solutions for it. The authors make clear why it is important to retain all the good qualities of human beings to live in a safe society.
At the same time, technology and science develop rapidly and science fiction is one genre that always has relevance in the future since it also deals with human beings and their changing behavior. “The single most useful thing I’ve learned from science fiction is that every present moment, always, is someone else’s past and someone else’s future.” (Gibson).
Franklin, H Bruce. Science Fiction: The Early History. 2009. Web.
Paliescheskey, Mary. Ray Bradbury and the Legacy of Fahrenheit 451.Helium. 2009. Web.
Gibson, William. Sci-fi Special: William Gibson. New Scientist, 2682. 2008. Web.